4 Three Hundred and Sixty-Fives and One 366 Elevens

***

given the continued absence of warmth
considering the permanent deficiencies and
………….anxieties that regularly perpetrate
………….and the cold above all especially or only
………….or the completely cold hot dog: a sausage with slimy mayonnaise
…………………………………………………………………………seminal and sterile
………….the dirty bed sheet covering monstrous city councils
………….the scarcity of solar radiation
……………………..(what little breaks through the carbon
monoxide, the smoke from chimneys controlled fires in February cigarettes
chimneys escape shoots chimneys shoots smoke)
……………………..which must also penetrate that dirty bed sheet
………….which barely covers—like a merely polluted sheet—
………….those teratological copulations, those languid coituses
……………………..rape and statutory rape
……………………..and the waves
of far-reaching or regulated radio frequency
the long and short waves
……………………..of radio television or telex
the waves emitted by broadcasting antennas
……………………..and receptor antennas, which also receive
those waves through which sunlight must travel
………….the inconceivably banal and efficiently hypnogenic nature
of what is radiocast and teleseen
……………………..the opaqueness of crystals
………………………….“smoke colored on the inside
………………………….bronze colored mirror on the outside”
……………………..crystals scattering crystals that refract
crystals chromatizing light the meager rate of light
acceptable per capita, per head
……………………..the latter two bowing so low
……………………..(the inequality in the rate of light from head to head)
……………………..the filth of the bed sheet covering everything
…………………………………or almost everything
…………………………………or lots of things
……………………..(the dirty bed sheet doesn’t cover itself)
also considering the stale, rotting burning or
infected odor
……………………..it seems like we’d have to maybe do something.
……………………..Although it might be better
…………………………………to do nothing
…………………………………nothing towards the left
………………………..nothing
………………….towards
…………………the
…………………..right
………….nothing forward either, most of all,
especially, nothing forward—that’s inertia
………….nothing backwards, that’s impossible,
try swimming backwards, it’s impossible, history
…………………………………………………….does not backtrack
—history is here
—history’s bayonets below history’s flags are here
—the blood on history’s bayonets below history’s flags are here
………….already clotted, or rather dried, like tinder
blood tinder on history’s bayonets below the flags of
………….history—of what is left behind
………….(no smoking, severe fire hazard, too much tinder
—dry blood—behind)
Nothing upwards either or downwards or inwards or outwards
………….nothing to do, do nothing
—fold your arms—sit in a lotus position—throw your head back
—look at the sky
………….(nothing upwards; don’t think of climbing the sky)
—throw yourself face down, cheek pressed to the floor
…………………………………………………….or sunk in mud
(don’t think of sinking; don’t avoid sinking)
………….at least this could be what
it seems like we’d have to maybe do, that thing
…………………………………………anything
it might be worth considering this: abandon action
………….hands in your pockets
or hands behind your back
or hands cuffed behind your head
………….or hands held up eyes to the floor
……………………..kicking shit all day
……………………..carelessly crushing
likely snails caterpillars, worms or distracted male or female cockroaches?
………….—they’ll never seek revenge—
abandon action: slowly going nowhere
…………………………………since there’s nowhere to go
…………………………………but we have to go
—perhaps, I guess, we’ll have to maybe go—nowhere
—perhaps we’ll find a place to hide, I don’t know
…………………………………………………….anyway it would be fitting
to not walk the streets:
………….people in Paris who tagged the May walls
illustrated French words, which translated into English read:
………….action/ is/ in/ the/ streets
…………………………………………and if we have to abandon action
it would be contradictory to ride the bus
……ride the Metro, any small, city or intercity bus
to drink
alcoholic beverages or cola or a cup of coffee

we’d have to starve to death, I suppose
dry up on a desolate street corner or in a dark cellar, I guess
because the Santa María towers may be the tallest buildings in Chile
but find out for yourself and climb to the top
—you’ll have to go well dressed—
take one of those elevators that reads minds, or almost at least,
which are as fast as those towers are tall
and go as far up as you can, to the roof, if possible
acting your way to the top so you can later jump and do nothing
filled with freedom from such a free fall
that makes you spread arms and soar, approaching your reflection
which approaches upwards from the mirrors of water
with your image multiplied by the windows which are mirrors from the outside
and reflect your falling image so you can’t see inside
but people inside can see you fly by in a freefall
—and they’ll think an angel soared by and hold a moment of silence…—

But you won’t: someone will grab you by the arm just in time
………….someone or something, a robot, for example
………….and someone—or something—will call an ambulance
over an intercom to a phone that will call an operator that will pass on
……the message to another phone etcetera
all at a speed scarcely slower than that of light or that of your body
in the attempted fall
……police radios in patrol cars probably won’t be necessary
maybe a siren will sound or maybe not, regardless there will be an electric silence
of shock therapy tac/
…………………………………a void
…………………………………………….and an empty space for you in a group
……………………..therapy program
……………………..in any group
and whatever tale they tell, you sorry soul
whatever bill they charge
…………………………………you’ll leave the hospital, clinic or medical center
singing to yourself gracias a la vida
motivated by publicity ads and advice that help improve our lives
………….from radio or television
which will have contributed so much to your recovery
……………………..while heading for the nearest store
……………………..where you can bet your luck on the
Polla Gol………..in exchange for a temple to sacrifice a
rooster to Asclepius you know they don’t do that nonsense anymore, man
……………………..and later find brief entertainment chewing
your favorite flavored gum
……………………..transfixed on a pinball machine or electronic ping pong

………….So what it comes down to is we should die simple deaths
………….without widespread panic or panspread widnic or wad spread pinic

gently, our traps shut
……………………..die
or remain on the sidewalk like a larger than average piece
……………………..of trash
savoring something like a chewable candy or a lollipop
or even a quality sweet, like Serrano, or more refined,
like Ambrosoli,
……………………..but dying,
……………………………………..dying a simple death,
……………………………………..dying.

Bios

Rodrigo Lira

Born in Santiago in 1949, Rodrigo Lira gained notorious fame for his dramatic public readings and eccentric parodies of many established Chilean poets, notably Pablo Neruda, Nicanor Parra, Enrique Lihn, and Vicente Huidobro. His humor, iconoclastic style, and political critiques (during the height of Augusto Pinochet’s 17-year dictatorship) offer many parallels to several literary movements in the U.S., such as the San Francisco Renaissance and the Beats. Tormented by a diagnosed case of schizophrenia as well as social marginalization, Lira committed suicide on his 32nd birthday, in 1981. After his death and the posthumous publication of his first collection of poems (Proyecto de obras completes), interest in Lira’s poetry and life grew exponentially, into a near cult following that has influenced many younger generations of Chilean poets and writers. Despite being one of the most enigmatic and intriguing figures in contemporary Chilean literature, his work is scarcely available in English.

Thomas Rothe and Rodrigo Olavarría

Thomas Rothe (Berkeley, California, 1985) has translated poetry into both English and Spanish, including an anthology of contemporary U.S. poets, La alteración del silencio (Cuneta, 2011), in collaboration with Galo Ghigliotto. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Latin American literature at the Universidad de Chile. He can be reached at tcrothe@gmail.com. ********************************************************************** Rodrigo Olavarría (Puerto Montt, Chile, 1979) is a writer and translator. He has published one novel, Alameda tras las rejas (La Calabaza del Diablo, 2010), while his short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. His Spanish translations of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems and Kaddish and other poems were published by Anagrama in 2006 and 2014, respectively.

Proyecto de obras completas. Copyright (c) Elisa Carmen Canguilhem Contrucci, 1984. English translation copyright (c) Thomas Rothe and Rodrigo Olavarría, 2016.